Queensland Government acts on vegetation management
Land clearing rates nearly doubled in the first two year of the Newman LNP Government leading to the release of 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the 2013/14 financial year alone.
The Palaszczuk Government plans to introduce legislation to Parliament in the first quarter of 2016 to reinstate a responsible vegetation management framework for Queensland.
The Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk has given responsibility for leading the Government’s response in this area to the Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad given it cuts across five portfolios.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study Report 2012–14 released today outlined this alarming clearing and emissions trend.
“I am extremely concerned about what the science is telling us – land clearing and related emissions have increased exponentially under the LNP. That’s why the Palaszczuk Government will introduce legislation early next year to more effectively manage vegetation clearing in Queensland,” Ms Trad said.
As Queenslanders gathered to protest global warming today, the state government has revealed how the LNP’s “do what you like” approach to land clearing pumped thousands of extra tonnes of CO2 into the air.
Ms Trad said the LNP bore responsibility for taking the axe to years of work Labor governments had done to achieve balanced vegetation management.
“They actively encouraged clearing, even before they changed the laws,” she said.
“We acknowledge most landholders are doing the right thing, and looking after their land.
“I’m determined that the action we take will achieve a balance between landholders who are doing the right thing and our waterways and eco-systems, and regional and rural communities
“Landholders have always been able to clear mulga for fodder for livestock, but it’s the other clearing I’m concerned about, particularly other clearing in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.
“If the escalating trend of this other clearing continues, we are increasing carbon emissions and risking land degradation, sedimentation of our waterways, and the Great Barrier Reef.
“Clearing increased from 153,638 hectares in 2011-12 to 296,324 hectares in 2013-14 but what is unforgiveable is the LNP knew about this escalating clearing trend more than a year ago.”
Ms Trad said the former LNP Government scrapped the Beattie Government’s nation leading tree clearing laws to phase out broadscale land clearing and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and led to Australia meeting Kyoto emission targets.
“Andrew Macintosh, the Associate Director of the Australian National University Centre for Climate Law and Policy has gone so far to say that arguably this was the single most important environmental policy achievement in Australian history.
“Instead of releasing the 2012-13 report last year, they kept it under wraps and we now have the stark reality that clearing and carbon emissions are almost back to the levels they were before the end of broadscale clearing in 2006,” Ms Trad said.
Minister for the Environment, National Parks and Great Barrier Reef, Dr Steven Miles said the government had been listening to landholders, conservation groups, local government and communities across the state on this issue since the election.